The Seaside Jesters threw their premier performance on Friday, Oct. 11, announcing to the university that BYU-Hawaii does indeed have an improv comedy club.
The event was free and began with two rows of chairs full of audience members. A half-hour in, that amount had doubled to a roaring, laughing crowd. “It was relaxed and informal, and a bunch of fun,” said audience member Chelsea Smith, a freshman in math from North Carolina.
Six actors performed, using “games” to guide their improvisation skills and to determine who was the funniest of them all. The winner, determined by the loudest applause, is guaranteed a spot in the next performance, which is slated to be Oct. 25 at 9 p.m. in Heber J Grant Building room 113.
One of the games is called “freeze-tag,” which calls for two actors to create a scene until the host calls them to freeze in whatever position they are in. Then, another actor comes on, and switches places with one of the frozen actors to start a new scene that justifies their current body position.
Games like “freeze-tag,” “questions only,” and “movie genres” had everyone in the room clutching their stomachs and literally slapping their knees. “The whole thing was great, but probably my favorite section was freeze-tag. It was not super structured, which, for me, was a good thing. It is something I hope they keep up,” said Daniel Malinconico, an ICS anthropology sophomore from New Jersey.
The flexible structure allowed the audience to be a part of the comedy, eliminating the rigid performer-spectator relationship and enriching the experience. “I like how they involved the audience,” said Smith, to which Malinconico added, “It was good how it was interactive and still very well put-together.” They even called for two girls from the audience to play old French ladies for the actors to kidnap three times in a game called “big, bigger, biggest.”
“They are a very talented group of people,” said Smith, who is eager to come to the next performance, even though there will be a small admission fee.
Peter Gregory, a senior in political science from Washington, was one of the actors. “It is a lot of fun. I especially like the workshops we do on Tuesdays. I definitely hope people will come back.” This was Gregory’s first improv comedy performance, but his history in musicals and drama has made him enjoy the stage.